The Long and the Short of It

May 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 12 Comments

Does the size of a book influence whether you’ll read it?  All these years, I’ve always gone out of my way to read longer books and avoid shorter ones.  It seemed that it would just be over too quickly otherwise.  I needed something to “last me.”

Right now I’m playing a little game.  I’m trying to see if I can read 500 books in a year.  Naturally, this would be a lot less likely to happen if I only read titles over 800 pages.  I figured out I could read an average of 400 pages per day, so if I chose books of about that length, then I could finish a book a day and read a couple extra on the weekend.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I could also read shorter books, and finish more than one a day.  Surprise!  I started going through the 600+ names on my TBR list, picking out a few shorter ones.  It is absolutely amazing how many worthy books I have put off reading for years, simply because they were “too short.”

F’rinstance, can you believe I have never read The Red Badge of Courage, at 150 pages?  Or Heart of Darkness, at 100?  I guess I always figured I could read them any time, so why not just put them off until later.  There’s also that sense that everyone else read it in high school, so why is an adult carrying it around?  The same thing makes it hard to read classic children’s books like Winnie the Pooh or Pippi Longstocking, though I’ve always wondered what they were like.

Simultaneously with my 500-book goal, I am racing S. Krishna to see who can read the most in a year.  We’re going by total page count, though, so it won’t matter a bit whether I read a few long books or a lot of short books.  (Since she’s about 5000 pages ahead right now, it probably won’t matter much either way!)

How about you?  Do you ever pass on a book simply due to its length?  Are you more likely to read something if it is a certain size?

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